The aim of the present studies was to investigate the relationship between primary and secondary control and the use of superstitious strategies under conditions of uncertainty and stress. In the first study, 78 participants completed a chance-determined card-guessing task in which they were permitted to use a psychic's card selections instead of making their own card selections. Participants' use of a superstitious strategy (a psychic's selections) increased significantly with the perceived likelihood of failure, regardless of belief in psychic ability. A second study (N = 102) replicated these findings using a skill task. Overall, these data suggest that as the need to control outcomes becomes increasingly salient, the use of superstitious strategies may represent attempts at secondary control.
|Number of pages||24|
|Journal||Journal of Applied Social Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2004|